Dubai layovers will cut travel time to Europe, says Qantas

Despite reports that some passengers could wait up to 10 hours for connections in Dubai on the way to Europe as part of its fledgling Emirates alliance, Qantas says flying via its new Middle East hub will be faster than going through Singapore.

Qantas, which on March 31 will launch its new route from Australia to Europe via Dubai, has released research which shows that its flights from Melbourne and Sydney to London will be about 30 minutes shorter than travelling through Singapore or Hong Kong.

Flights from Melbourne and Sydney to London will be about 30 minutes shorter.

Qantas is under pressure over its switch from Singapore to Dubai as its hub to Europe as well as fare discounting on the route announced last week by China Southern. The Chinese airline is muscling into the Australia-London route, via its home city of Guangzhou, and in the short-term is dramatically undercutting Qantas fares.

The travel industry is also waiting to see whether Australian travellers will embrace Dubai as a stopover option after decades of favouring Singapore and other Asian cities for layovers. But Qantas has released further research which shows Dubai is second only to Singapore as a preferred stopover destination for Australians.

The research shows the longest transit time in Dubai for London flights will be one hour 45 minutes and total travel time to top destinations in Europe is, on average, two hours 15 minutes less than the Qantas network through Asia.

Qantas says some customers will benefit from lower airport fees by bypassing London's Heathrow and flying direct from Dubai to their final destinations in Europe. It could mean a saving of about $100, the spokesman said.

Qantas will also introduce Dubai Connect, matching Emirates' stopover service, which provides free accommodation, transfers, meals and visa costs if connections are greater than six hours and less than 24 hours for first and business passengers, or greater than eight hours and less than 24 hours for premium economy and economy passengers.